The twin ventriloquists;.., p.1
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       The Twin Ventriloquists; or, Nimble Ike and Jack the Juggler, p.1

           Amanda M. Douglas
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The Twin Ventriloquists; or, Nimble Ike and Jack the Juggler

  Produced by Demian Katz and the Online DistributedProofreading Team at (Images courtesyof the Digital [email protected] University(




  No. 41.

  The Twin Ventriloquists; OR, NIMBLE IKE AND JACK THE JUGGLER. A Tale of Strategy and Jugglery.


  "Great Scott, the hound spoke!"]


  The Twin Ventriloquists;



  A Tale of Strategy and Jugglery.


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  A Tale of Strategy and Jugglery.




  "Great Caesar!"

  The exclamation with which we open our narrative fell from the lips ofNimble Ike, one of the most remarkable ventriloquists that ever sent ahuman voice rambling around through space under the most extraordinaryinflectional disguises. Detectives disguise their appearance, butventriloquists disguise their voices, and make them represent at willall manner of individualities, in the human or animal. Nimble Ike, as wehave intimated, was a wonderful ventriloquist; he had played more pranksand worked more wonders with his talent than any other person possessedof the remarkable gift. He had paralyzed professionals and amazedamateurs, and with the aid of his marvelous vocal powers had performedmany good deeds on the side of right and justice, forcing rogues toconfessions and scaring schemers and roues out of their wits. He was adaring youth, possessing many talents other than the gift ofventriloquism to a remarkable degree. He had never met his match, andwhen not engaged in aiding some persecuted person or working withdetectives he amused himself in various ways by an exercise of hispowers. As stated, Ike had never met his match either amongprofessionals or amateurs. He stood number one as a ventriloquistwonder. He had been told of a youth who also possessed the gift in amost remarkable manner. He had never met the youth and was led to doubtthe fact that there was another who came anywhere near him. One day Ike,having nothing else to do, determined to visit the Metropolitan Museumin Central Park. He had been there before and enjoyed himself everytime, but he had never attempted any of his pranks. On the occasion whenwe introduce him to our readers, he was standing beside a mummy casecontaining the linen-bound remains of some poor Egyptian who diedthousands of years ago, and he was deeply interested in the descriptionand explanations offered by a sallow-faced gentleman who was a greatscientist and Egyptologist. An old maid teacher of an archaeological turnof mind had chaperoned her class of young lady pupils and had securedthe services of the sallow-faced man with the big spectacles to act asguide and expositor for the occasion. As stated, Ike was greatlyinterested in what the professor had to say; he felt quite serious andwas in no mood to amuse himself, when a most startling, soul-thrillingincident occurred. The professor had all the young ladies gathered closearound him like so many serious mourners standing around the casket of adeceased friend. He had been descanting in a very earnest manner andfinally said:

  "Now, ladies, if that mummy could speak he would."

  Here the professor stopped suddenly, his spectacles fell from his face,his hands went up and his face blanched, while the young ladies fellback trembling with terror, for, from the interior of the mummy casecame the astounding announcement:

  "I can talk. What do you want me to tell you?"

  The words came clear and distinct, and they came, as appeared, directlyfrom the lips of the mummy; and so realistic was the declaration thatone might expect to see the lurid-looking object rise in its thousandsof centuries old shroud and look forth from the sunken hollows where itseyes had once beamed forth.

  As stated, Ike was standing near the mummy case, but the wonderfulventriloquist was as much amazed as any one. He did not believe themummy spoke--he was too great an expert in vocal deceptions--but he wasamazed all the same, and his amazement arose from the discovery thatthere was one living person besides himself who could produce suchamazing results. He glanced around and there was only the one party whohad been standing near the mummy, and that was the professor with theladies gathered around him. Some distance off a very trimly-built youthstood gazing at the stuffed birds in a case. Our hero had not seen hisface; he could not be the vocal deceiver, however, and the questionarose, Who had performed this marvelous trick? Meantime the professorhad gathered his spectacles from the floor and had to a certain extentrecovered from his surprise and bewilderment, and he ejaculated:

  "That was most extraordinary."

  He beckoned the ladies about him once again, but they came forward veryreluctantly and our hero, Nimble Ike, scanned their faces to learn whichone of the pretty girls was the ventriloquist who had worked the greattrick. All their faces wore an expression of surprise and alarm, and hewas forced to conclude that the voice magician was not one of them, andhis final conclusion was that the sallow-faced scientist was theculprit--yes, the sallow-faced man with the big nose and goggles hadmade the inviting statement, knowing that he could seemingly make themummy talk. His surprise and alarm, our hero concluded, was all apretense and a part of his little joke, and it was then that Ike turningaway uttered the ejaculation "Great Caesar!" His blood was up; theprofessor was a wonderful ventriloquist, but Ike determined to have somesport and give the professor ventriloquist, as he appeared to be, thesurprise of his life. He determined to make the mummy do some talltalking and force the professor to a betrayal of genuine surprise.

  "Yes," mentally concluded Ike, "the next time you'll shed your gogglesfor fair."

  Ike was in no hurry, however; he intended first to watch the professorand find out if he were really the vocal wonder.

  The young ladies fina
lly gathered around, for the professor's talk hadreally been very interesting. He said:

  "Young ladies, I wish to ask you a question. What scared you?"

  The ladies did not answer, and the professor again inquired:

  "Were you scared by my demonstration or did you, ah--ah--well, did youhear a voice?"

  One of the young ladies answered:

  "We heard a voice."

  "You did?"

  "Yes, sir."

  "Then it was not a delusion; no, it was not a delusion, but it was oneof the most extraordinary incidents that ever occurred since the days ofmiracles, or, to explain it on scientific grounds, we were all soengrossed on the subject under conversation that by some singularpsychologic phenomena, our imaginations were momentarily spellbound by aconcentration of all the nerve forces upon a given thought, and therebyour imaginations were abnormally stimulated to such a degree as to makethe extraordinary deception possible."

  The girls stared, but did not comprehend the professor's explanation,although it was about as plain as scientific and medical explanationsusually are.

  Ike was unable to decide. The professor appeared to have fully recoveredand again became rapt in the subject of his discourse. The young ladiesalso appeared to have recovered from their alarm and were deeplyinterested in all the professor said. Ike, however, had lost allinterest in the lecture. He was piqued, he did not understand how itcould be that there was really another who possessed a ventriloquistictalent almost equal to his own. As stated, he watched the professor andfinally the good man again arrived at a point when he said:

  "If that relic of the past centuries could speak he----"

  "I can speak," again came the voice from the mummy case.

  The professor stared, the ladies stared, but the expression of surprisewas not equal to what it had been at the first exhibition. Theprofessor, however, came to a dead stop, he looked slowly around andfinally in a husky voice remarked:

  "I do not understand it."

  Neither did Ike, for he was convinced that the professor was not theacrobatic vocalist. The latter, however, was a man of nerve, a genuinescientist, and he said:

  "Young ladies, do not be scared; that linen-wrapped object, that corpse,that has lain swathed in its funeral habiliments for over thirtycenturies, says he can speak. We will let him talk." And from the mummycase came the statement:

  "I think a fellow who has been silent for thirty centuries should have achance to get a word in."

  Ike was "on to it." He was too great an expert not to fathom themystery. He had met his match at last. He was fully assured that thelithe-looking chap who was studying the ornithological department wasthe ventriloquist, and our hero muttered:

  "You are having lots of fun, mister, but now I'll give you a scare."

  The ventriloquist stranger was still gazing in the bird case, when closeto his ear came the startling announcement, seemingly from the birdcase:

  "What's the matter with you? Why do you disturb that poor old Egyptianwho has been asleep for over three thousand years?"

  Ike's test brought its result. He saw the strange youth give a start. Heturned about, but he did not look at the talking stuffed bird; he turnedaround to see who it was that had so cleverly matched him. It was agreat game all round. The professor was bewildered, the ladies werebewildered, and the young fellow at the bird case, who had bewilderedevery one else, was himself bewildered. In fact, Ike, the master, wasthe only one who at that moment held the key to the whole mystery, andknew just what it was all about.

  Ike enjoyed his momentary triumph, and so for a few moments nothingstartling occurred.

  The professor kept repeating, "This is most extraordinary," and thebalance of his party evidently thought so.

  The young man who had been looking in the bird case, however, as itproved, was a "Jim Dandy," as the boys say. He was not to be kicked outso easily. He also, as our narrative will prove, was an expert and avery brave and resolute lad. He walked around looking into several casesfor a few moments and then quietly edged over toward the mummy casearound which still lingered the professor and his party, and Ikerealized that a most remarkable duel was portending--a duel between twowonderful vocal experts. Our hero had fully identified the young man onwhom he had retorted as the individual who had made the mummy speak.

  "I'll have first shot," thought Ike, and as the young man passed closeto a second mummy case and stood a moment looking at the bandaged faceas a "throw off," the relic of a thousand years appeared to say to himin a hoarse whisper:

  "Look out, young man, look out, you may get hit with a club made threethousand years ago."

  There was a perplexed look upon the young man's face for a moment, andthen his bright, clear eyes wandered around and he too fell to adiscovery, as he believed.

  The professor meantime had become exceedingly nervous and he said:

  "I believe I will adjourn the lecture for to-day."

  As the professor spoke, there came a voice from the mummy case saying:

  "Yes, you had better adjourn it forever, for you don't know what you aretalking about."

  The professor advanced close to the mummy case to gaze directly at thelips of the three-thousand-year corpse. He was determined to solve themystery, but as he bent over the venerable object there came anunearthly yell that froze the blood in his veins. He leaped back, theyoung ladies ran screaming away and there would have been a great scenewere it not that at the time there were no other persons in thatparticular department of the museum.

  The professor led the way down to the office to tell his wondrous tale,while the young man who had first started the joke approached and gazedintently on the face of our hero, the great Nimble Ike. The latterreturned the gaze and for a few moments it was a duel of stare; neitherappeared disposed to open the conversation, while in the mind of eachthere dawned a suspicion, and finally the young stranger mustered upsufficient courage to ask:

  "Say, young fellow, who are you?"

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